The role of sexual self-concept in the use of contraceptives

Fam Plann Perspect. May-Jun 1988;20(3):123-7.

Abstract

Sexual self-concept--defined as an individual's evaluation of his or her own sexual feelings and actions--is proposed as an important predictor of contraceptive behavior among teenagers, and a scale measuring the concept is described. In exploratory analyses among university students, sexual self-concept is found to be associated with frequency of contraceptive use and use at most recent intercourse. It is also associated with their choice of contraceptive--students who had used prescription methods at last coitus had significantly higher scores on the sexual self-concept scale than did those who had used nonprescription methods or no method. These findings, together with the finding from analysis among high school students that sexual self-concept appears to improve with age, suggest that younger teenagers may be poorer users of contraceptives because of a lower sexual self-concept. Counseling and sex education that address social and psychological issues may help improve adolescent contraceptive practice by addressing teenagers' views of their own sexuality.

PIP: Sexual self-concept--defined as an individual's evaluation of his or her own sexual feelings and actions--is proposed as an important predictor of contraceptive behavior among teenagers, and a scale measuring the concept is described. In exploratory analyses among US university students, sexual self-concept is found to be associated with frequency of contraceptive use and use at most recent intercourse. It is also associated with their choice of contraceptive--students who had used prescription methods at last coitus had significantly higher scores on the sexual self-concept scale than did those who had used nonprescription methods or no method. These findings, together with the finding from analysis among high school students that sexual self-concept appears to improve with age, suggest that younger teenagers may be poorer users of contraceptives because of a lower sexual self-concept. A Pearson product-moment correlation confirmed that older participants had a more positive sexual self-concept than younger subjects. A 1-way analysis of variance showed that sexual self-concept scores were strongly related to the method of choice. The students who had used prescription contraceptive methods at last coitus exhibited the highest SSC scale scores, followed by those who had used nonprescription methods, then the withdrawal group and then the group who had used no method.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Contraception Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychosexual Development
  • Self Concept*
  • Sexual Behavior*